Last week I was practicing at home and settling in for Savasana (usually the last pose where you lay down and just try to be still and quiet). My two year old, who had been mostly playing quietly in the room with me, comes over and begins stroking my eye lids and lips with her finger. She’s muttering something about how I need make-up. The “make-up session” goes on for awhile so I wrap up the Savasana and just give her a hug. It was pretty funny and sweet. But also a little bit annoying. It was annoying because being interrupted is annoying. Try to recall a time when you are deeply concentrating and keep getting interrupted–I bet you were annoyed. Maybe sometime you were reading a book and someone kept trying to talk to you? It’s kind of like that.
But this is how life is at my house with kids. I am interrupted endlessly. E-n-d-l-e-s-s-l-y. Sometimes it’s annoying and frustrating and sometimes I can quickly get back to what I am doing without skipping a beat. Even if I didn’t have kids there’s certainly a chance I could get interrupted by something or someone else. Because life is full of interruptions.
Accept that there will be interruptions
There’s always going to be something else you could be doing or thinking about. Always. There’s never going to be a moment when time is going to stand still, just for you, so you won’t have to deal with distractions or interruptions. Instead observe the interruption and then start practicing again. If the phone rings you have to decide if you are going to answer it or not. I suggest not answering the call but if you do just get back on the mat after you say good bye. Even if it’s just for one more pose.
In the early days of my practice, I can recall a time when I was practicing in my apartment and somehow ended up on the other side of the room organizing my CDs. I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop practicing and fix the CD pile. I must have been spaced out, saw that the CDs were messy and walked over to fix them. I can’t remember if I got back on the mat or not—I hope I did but chances are I did not.
Thinking back to this early memory and comparing it to the recent make-up session Savasana I can see that I have come a long way. It is very unlikely now that I am going to get spaced out and start doing some other task without realizing it. I have come far in my practice not because I am all that special or talented but because I just kept on going. I kept on going through a lot of distractions and built up a lot of years of experience trying to practice. Now I know, from experience, what works and doesn’t work–how much to eat, how much to sleep, what time of day, etc. Developing this data for yourself just takes time and a willingness to keep on trying.
I challenge you to find practice time
Can you find 15-20 minutes three times a week? Think about other activities you do for that amount of time. Do you spend that much time or more looking at social media? Or watching television? Could you get up 15 minutes early? Or go to bed 15 minutes later? I bet you can! What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for your life to have less distractions or interruptions? I guarantee if you keep waiting for that moment, it will never come. So, get started on the first step–no matter how small. Practice today and then try to do it again tomorrow and the next. Before you know it you too will have built up years of experience.